Mutual Fund Calculator: Find What Fees Will Cost You

Kevin VoigtApr 15, 2021
Mutual Fund Calculator: Find What Fees Will Cost You

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

The investing information provided on this page is for educational purposes only. NerdWallet does not offer advisory or brokerage services, nor does it recommend or advise investors to buy or sell particular stocks or securities.

With thousands of mutual funds on the market, how do you decide which fund to buy? Looking into the future and the fees that can erode long-term returns is good way to sift through your choices. That's where this mutual fund calculator can help.

How to use the mutual fund calculator

  • Enter an initial investment amount.

  • Next, enter an annual contribution if you plan (as experts advise) to make regular new investments. Many mutual funds have minimum initial investments, but brokers often will waive that minimum if you make monthly deposits.

  • Add how many years you plan to stay invested in the fund. The longer the time horizon, the greater the potential returns.

  • Input an estimated annual return for the mutual fund. (You can find the fund's historical performance online, but remember — past performance does not guarantee future results.)

  • Finally, add the annual fees, known as the mutual fund's expense ratio. Lower fees means more of your cash will stay invested for potential long-term growth.

An important note: This calculator presumes you are shopping only for no-load, no-transaction-fee funds — mutual funds that don't charge a sales commission or fees for purchase or sale of shares. (You can read more about mutual fund fees here).

Before you buy a mutual fund (or any investment), you'll need to have a brokerage account. Opening an account is simple, but you have a few choices to make: Learn more from this primer on how to open a brokerage account.

More questions? We have answers:

Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.